Compass Chronicle

Compass Charter Schools | Fall 2022

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Welcome Back Compass Family!

Can you believe we are embarking on another year at Compass, entering our 11th year of serving scholars? As many of you now know, I will be stepping down from my position as Superintendent & CEO at the end of the calendar year. This was a very difficult and personal decision for me; after moving to California to take the helm as CEO seven years ago, I am heading back home to Michigan. As we move forward with Dr. Steven Lowder, a consultant from McPherson & Jacobson, I am confident that we will find a new and outstanding Superintendent & CEO for our school. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve you and help shape the Compass Experience we can all be proud of.

As we head into this new school year, I want to touch on our school-wide Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). A key component of this is our Blueprint for Success, which consists of 100% of staff will report increased coherence, improved culture, and greater connectedness by the end of the 2022-23 school year (WIG #1), and that 100% of our eligible scholars will graduate by the end of the 2022-23 school year (WIG #2). I have confidence in our scholars, staff, and families that we can achieve both of these WIGs!

Our Board of Directors continues to grow and guide our work, asking insightful questions and providing guidance and direction, all with the notion of putting our scholars first and supporting them along their educational journeys. We are also supported by our Parent Advisory Council and Scholar Leadership Council. The support of both councils and our board, combined with our scholars’ excellent work ethic, learning coaches, teachers, and staff, steer us on a path to success!

The upcoming 2022-23 school year promises even more advancements at Compass, guided by our Framework for the Future and Blueprint for Success. Let us remember how much we have accomplished at Compass and how far we have to go. Thank you for helping us to model and uphold the Gold Standard in Virtual Education. What we can achieve and accomplish together as a Compass Family is incredible. I want to assure our families that our passion, integrity, and transparency will remain consistent. Our top priority has always been to provide our scholars and learning coaches with a positive, engaging, and memorable experience at Compass.

Thank you for forever changing the course of my life; serving as your Superintendent & CEO has been my greatest honor and privilege! Let’s continue to rise and soar, firebirds!

Forever Loud & Proud,

J.J. Lewis

Superintendent & CEO

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Check out AVID, Counseling, Engagement, and Special Education Below and Then Click on Your Program!

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AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination

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This school year, we kicked four awesome AVID Elective Classes for middle and high school scholars. All scholars are having a great time learning more about their fellow classmates and all of the things they have in common, and what makes them each unique.

Our focus has been on understanding what WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading) stands for and how we will use AVID strategies to deepen our connections to the learning. All classes are looking forward to the opportunity of learning tools and strategies that will help them get and stay organized and take ownership of their learning this year!

- Andrea Lomeli, AVID Coordinator/Elective Teacher

AVID Highlights Jalyse Brown, a 7-grade and Her Learning Coach Jennifer

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First, we hear from Jennifer, her Learning Coach & Mother

Why did your family choose to learn from home instead of a traditional school building?

We chose online learning for the flexibility and convenience, which allows Jalyse to finish school early and make it to gymnastics practice early every day.

Does learning from home help your scholar achieve their goals?

Yes, Jalyse’s goal is to be a collegiate student-athlete for gymnastics. Learning from home allows her more training time in the gym.

What has been your greatest joy in schooling your scholar at home?

We enjoy not needing to wake up super early and rush to commute to a traditional school. Online learning allows us a more relaxed schedule.

Share a challenge that you have experienced as a learning coach and how you have worked to overcome the challenge.

The first day of online learning was a challenge because everything was so new. We figured it out together, and now it’s a breeze.

Why did you decide to school from home with Compass Charter Schools?

We chose Compass because the live learning labs were not required, which meant if Jalyse is at gymnastics practice or competition, she is able to rewatch it later.

How does Compass support your scholar?

Compass supports Jalyse in the flexibility of academics which, in turn, supports her gymnastics dreams.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Compass family?

I enjoy the monthly meetings with the homeroom teacher to discuss Jalyse’s progress and address any questions or concerns.

Share a piece of advice you’d give to a parent thinking about taking their child out of school to school at home.

I would advise a parent to consider if the child is self-motivated and can work independently. Also, make sure the child has social interactions with other children almost daily.

What do you, your scholar, and the family enjoy doing together during your free time?

We enjoy traveling, which we get to do during competition season.

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And now we hear from scholar Jalyse!

We know that when learning at home, each day is different, but what is a typical school day like for you?

First, I wake up at about 8:45 am. Then, I brush my teeth, eat breakfast, etc. After that, I start my schoolwork. Usually, I start with the things in Google Classroom. By the time that’s done, it’s usually time for zoom. Then, I finish as much work as possible and eat lunch from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm. After lunch, I finish the rest of my assignments and get ready for gymnastics at 1:45 pm. I have gymnastics practice from 3 to 8 pm every day, except Thursday. If I haven’t finished all my assignments, sometimes I do them after practice. Then I eat dinner and get ready for bed.

Why did you choose AVID as your elective, and what are you looking forward to doing this year in class?

I chose AVID because everyone was saying it can help you a lot in the long run. I also noticed that we were going to do some fun projects. I’m excited about doing these projects and learning about everyone.

How do you think our AVID Learning Labs help get to know fellow scholars?
As I said, AVID has many different projects, and some are getting to know each other. You describe yourself, share fun facts about yourself, and tell your favorite things and what you like to do for fun.

Explain what WICOR is in your own words and how WICOR strategies will help you in your academic courses.

WICOR stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading. WICOR can help in all aspects of learning. It can be helpful in many different ways.WICOR can help you read and understand texts better, have more organization, and write more effectively.

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Counseling Services Department

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What's Been Happening in Counseling?

Welcome Back, Firebirds!!

The Compass Charter Schools Counseling Department is thrilled to be back for the 2022/23 school year! We are very much enjoying reconnecting with our returning families and welcoming new scholars and learning coaches into the Compass family.

We are very excited to welcome TWO new counselors to our team this year, Mrs. Diane Darretta and Mr. Stephen Duarte. Also, new this year is a podcast! Compass counselors, Mrs. Mandi Schwartzberg and Mr. Jacob Samples, come together on important topics related to overall well-being, ultimately leading to school success. Let’s Explore a myriad of topics on the Compass website under ‘Newsroom.’ All new episodes are posted at the beginning of each month, and all of our topics for the year can be found Counseling Virtual Office

Our Compass Counseling Department is pleased to offer a variety of ways for scholars to engage with our team and receive academic, social/emotional, and college/career support. Looking to connect with your school counselor and/or stay up to date with important counseling deadlines, information, small groups, and/or learning labs? Make sure to check out our Counseling Virtual Office and Counseling Go-To Guide.

The Counseling Team would like to Spotlight Mr. Duarte!

    Hello, my name is Mr. Duarte, and I am one of the new school counselors here at Compass. Some of my job responsibilities include collaborating with all educational partners and scholars whose last names begin with Ce-Gi; I also primarily focus on supporting scholars with academic planning and social/emotional counseling. Additionally, I have been with Compass for just over a month. I have enjoyed getting to know many of the scholars and families I will be working with and the staff who embody such a positive culture.

    My motivation and “why” for being a school counselor here at Compass is to use what I have learned through my education and personal experiences to help scholars succeed on their own terms. Every scholar has different goals, as well as unique circumstances or challenges, and I want to be able to work with each and every scholar in the best way that will work for them in working towards academic success and emotional wellness.

    One piece of advice or encouragement that I would love to share with every scholar is to lean on the resources that are available to you. Whether coming to a counselor for an emotional concern or asking a teacher/tutor for help with a difficult subject, finding ways to advocate for yourself and your overall success will go a long way. I’m excited to get the chance to support and speak with each of you, and I’m looking forward to a great year!

    Counseling Success Stories

    We are so proud of our Compass Class of 2022 as they embark on their next educational journey! The start of a new school year is a great time to set and maintain goals for the future, just as our Class of 2022 had done to get them to the following colleges and universities:
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    Engagement Department

    Meet our Engagement Team!

    Our Engagement Department consists of Rebecca MacAlpine as the Director of Engagement, along with Danielle DelNegro, our Engagement Coordinator, and Ashley Daugherty, our Orientation Coordinator. Danielle DelNegro, as our Engagement Coordinator, oversees projects such as Back to School Picnics, Field Trips, Scholar Celebrations, and Virtual Scholar Workshops. As our Orientation Coordinator, Ashley Daugherty oversees projects such as Learning Coach Academy (LCA), Scholar Clubs, Weeks of Welcome (WOW), and Weekly Orientations. Our team also includes our entire Compass staff, who support our Engagement initiatives in a variety of ways! Our whole Compass community is part of our department and are a part of bringing to reality the variety of offerings that we have within Engagement!
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    What's Been Happening in Engagement?

    It was a pleasure to celebrate Compass Charter School’s 8-grade promoting scholars as well as our graduating Class of 2022 at our in-person promotion and graduation ceremonies this past June! We hosted ceremonies for scholars in each of our three charters in San Diego, Carson, and Lafayette. Sharing this celebration with our scholars and their loved ones was a special treat!

    We also hosted our virtual end-of-year celebrations for our kindergarten and 5-grade scholars. During these celebrations, we recognized the achievements of our Kindergarten and 5-grade scholars and heard from our keynote speakers and award-winning authors, Barbara Jean the Story Queen and Trudy Ludwig!

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    Field Trips & Virtual Scholar Workshops!

    Field trips and Virtual Scholar Workshops are back in full swing as we head into the 2022/23 school year! We have many amazing opportunities ahead that we can’t wait to share with you. We encourage you to stay up to date on our latest offerings by visiting the ParentSquare calendar and keeping an eye on the Monday Morning Update (MMU) each week.

    Scholar Clubs!

    We have 21 scholar clubs up and running this school year for our scholars to get more involved and have an opportunity to connect with their peers! We are excited to spend Monday afternoons with our scholars this school year during scholar clubs!

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    Learning Coach Academy!

    Learning Coach Academy will be held every Monday at 11 am this school year! We can’t wait for our learning coaches to connect with one another and learn more about being the best learning coach they can be!
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    Special Education Department

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    What's Been Happening in Special Education?

    The Special Education department has had a great start to the 2022/23 school year! Educational Specialists and providers are reaching out to scholars with IEP services to schedule virtual services for the year.

    Staff Spotlight: Katie Kowalewski, Education Specialist

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    The Special Education team is thrilled to have Katie Kowalewski on board as one of our newest Education Specialists! Please see below for our Q & A with Katie!

    What is your job title and job responsibilities at Compass? How long have you worked for this organization?

    I am an Education Specialist for Compass. I provide Specialized Academic Instruction and support to scholars who have an IEP. This is my first year working for the school, and I'm enjoying it!

    Tell us your "why" for doing what you do here at Compass.

    I have known for many years that I wanted to be a teacher someday. I always thought I would teach second grade. However, after traveling to Haiti in 2008 and working with children with disabilities, I returned home and changed my teaching credential courses to special education. I enjoy working with families and their scholars to provide the best learning experiences possible to help them be successful in life.

    Is there a piece of advice you'd like to share with learning coaches or scholars?

    As a homeschool mom myself, I'd like to encourage our learning coaches. Those who are pouring into their children's lives each day are making such a positive impact. Some days will be really easy, and some days will be really difficult, but all the days are worth it. Keep up the good work!

    Share one thing about you that very few people know.

    I could eat tacos every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of them.

    What do you and your family like to do during your free time?

    In my free time, my family and I enjoy traveling and spending time with other friends and family.

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    Giving to Compass

    Compass Charter Schools is a non-profit charter school. Your donation helps enhance and expand the Compass Experience for our scholars, learning coaches, and staff.

    The easiest way to give is online at

    If you can make a gift, the Compass family will benefit greatly.

    Do not forget to check if your company will match your donation to Compass. It is an excellent way to SUPER-SIZE your donation! Thank you!

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    Are you enjoying the educational experience at Compass? Tell us! We want to hear from you. Why did you decide to join the Compass family? Or, what do you love most about being part of our community? Share you comments and all of your wonderful experiences at Compass with us! Click here to share.
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    Compass Charter Schools

    Visit our website for more information about our academic programs. Want to get connected? Give us a shoutout on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram: @CompassCS #CompassExperience